Immigration Bill: No Federal Health Benefits for Up to a Decade

Undocumented immigrants given temporary legal status under a new immigration bill would be denied access to Medicaid and other subsidized insurance offered under the federal health-reform law. That would mean thousands of immigrants, while  waiting for up to 10 years to be fully legalized, would likely continue turning to Oklahoma hospitals, clinics and other providers for free or reduced-cost care, health and advocacy-group officials said. Immigrants also would tend to delay or forego treatment because they can’t afford it, officials said. Immigrants given legal status under the bill would gain one new health option: They could legally get a job that offers health insurance. But according to studies, many immigrants work for small employers who don’t offer affordable coverage and won’t be required to do so under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Hispanic Population Surges Statewide

From the Panhandle city of Guymon to the Little Dixie community of Heavener, Hispanics now comprise a significant and growing portion of the population across Oklahoma. The Hispanic populations of 218 Oklahoma communities have more than doubled over the past decade, according to an Oklahoma Watch analysis of 2010 and 2000Census data.